Carla: I’m coining a new term: ADHP–Attention Demanding Hyperactive Parenting. It’s my–and maybe your–tendency to over-parent.
I’ve had a few conversations lately that have me wondering if I am too worried, too protective, too uptight with my kids. We aren’t what I would consider strict or rigid parents–we don’t have a lot of rules or systems or charts in place. Our kids have a lot of input into how we operate as a family and we try not to say no unless we have a good reason to. That’s worked well for us so far.
But we have a teenager now, which means there are a new set of issues looming on the horizon. And now I’m starting to wonder if I’m holding on too tight, being too rigid, protecting her from…growing up?
I don’t think of myself as a so-called helicopter parent who looms over my kids, watching and micromanaging their every move. But then, helicopter parents don’t really think they are helicopter parents, do they? So how do I know when I’m overparenting? How do I know when to let go a little bit?
I am a big believer that part of my job is to protect my children’s innocence because once it’s gone, it doesn’t come back. So we say no to most PG-13 movies and music with lyrics that aren’t appropriate for a 13-year-old girl to sing along to (“Love the Way You Lie” anyone?). I don’t let my 9-year-old play video games where people are killed. None of the kids have their own phones. But I don’t want to raise those kids who turn 18, head to college, and have no idea how to function in the world because their parents have made all of their choices for them and they have no idea how to filter out the good from the bad.
I also realize that there is no rule of thumb for parental protection. Location plays a part: We would parent quite differently if we lived 10 blocks in any direction from where we live. 10 blocks north and I’d be worried about letting them play in the yard without me there. 10 blocks west and I’d let them ride their bikes anywhere they wanted to go. And obviously their ages play a part. But I play the biggest part–my fears, both rational an not-so-rational, and my hopes for them–and I just don’t know how I’m doing.
So tell me Revolutionaries, how do you know when you’re being overly protective? How do you stop over parenting?
OOOOH! And update! Our friend Makeesha pointed me to this link today. It helps a bit.